A few months ago, I wrote an article highlighting seven electric motorcycle companies that were innovative enough to be worth keeping an eye on. One of those companies was Mission Motors, an electric superbike startup that was developing two all-electric bikes for the market. The cheaper version, the Mission Motors R, was expected to cost a little over $30,000, which is expensive for a motorcycle but isn’t unthinkable when you consider the technology included with the bike.
At the time, bikes hadn’t been delivered to customers, but the situation looked at least somewhat hopeful thanks to a post on the company’s Facebook page that promised a “Huge AWESOME update” coming soon. That update could have been an announcement that production had begun and that customers who had pre-ordered their bikes would be receiving them shortly.
Sadly, what ended up happening was that production got delayed again while the company restructured to become Mission Electric, a company that would compete in the automotive space, as well. Most people missed it, though, and I wouldn’t even have noticed it if a reader hadn’t asked me to check into whether or not the company was ever going to deliver his bike.
In August, it looked like Mission Electric was barely alive, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when NorthJersey.com reported it had officially filed for bankruptcy. Whether or not any bikes were ever produced is also still unconfirmed.
According to the report, the situation at Mission was much worse than anybody would have thought.
“Mark Seeger, CEO of San Francisco-based Mission Motorcycles, Inc. said in a letter to the court that the company has so little money it can’t afford an attorney, and he is in the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” reports Hugh Morely.
“I have struggled to rescue the business to find a buyer for the assets,” wrote Seeger, including that “to date, we have not earned any cash/revenue of any kind.”
This news is obviously disheartening for anyone who put down a deposit on a Mission R or a Mission RS and the employees who worked for years to bring these products to the market, but it’s also disappointing for the motorcycle industry in general.
By all reports, Mission’s motorcycles were awesome bikes. They were’s just great electric bikes. They were truly excellent motorcycles that happened to be electric. They were pushing the boundaries of what a motorcycle could do, and if Mission had succeeded, it would have had a major impact on the motorcycle industry.
Two of the companies I mentioned in the original article, Energica and Lightning Motorcycles appear to still be soldiering on developing electric superbikes, but Mission Motors has so much potential, it’s sad to see it go.
The good news is that the remnants of the company will be up for sale soon, and someone with real money could end up getting a great deal on some electric motorcycle technology. The two companies that immediately come to mind are Polaris and Yamaha.
Polaris already bought the electric motorcycle company Brammo, and considering its purchase of the electric vehicle manufacturer GEM, it’s clearly interested in electric transportation. Perhaps it would make sense for Polaris to buy up what’s left of Mission Electric so it could sell an electric superbike alongside the Victory Empulse TT it picked up from Brammo.
Yamaha has also been developing electric motorcycles that it intends to begin selling in the near future, but perhaps buying up what’s left of Mission Electric would give it a technological jump on some of its competitors.
You might think Harley-Davidson would want to get in on the action after the LiveWire concept it showed off recently, but the company has already said it has no interest in buying an existing electric motorcycle company and instead wants to develop electric bikes entirely on its own. Harley-Davidson promises it will begin selling one as soon as the battery technology is there to create a satisfactory ownership experience.
While the death of Mission Motors is certainly not the end of the electric motorcycle, it’s still disappointing to see the company that built a bike with so much promise go down due to a lack of funding. There’s certainly more that went down behind the scenes, but it still would have been great to see them succeed.